1,000? 5,000? 500,000? I don't know how many laughs Wendy Chioji and I shared, I just know that they were all heartfelt, belly-hurting, "ain't life great?!" laughs. I'll never forget how they felt, how they sounded or the look on her face when we had them. The best part was how willing a participant she was. Bad puns to use in the end of the newscast, subtle to not-so subtle jabs at each other, or the magical moments where are comedic "genius" came together as one and we just couldn't stop rolling. That's what I'll miss most about my dear friend. Those laughs. Those smiles. She fought cancer for so long, so hard, with everything she had and did it all with that smile on her face.
This morning in heaven the angels parted and cleared a path so Wendy and Stu could find each other. I'm sure the bear hug they shared was long and meaningful and then one of them said something to the other to make them laugh.
There are too many "best things" about Wendy to count, but the fact that she lived life the same way every damn day will always stick with me. If you didn't know she had cancer you'd never know because she was out there climbing mountains, skiing, running, racing... living... all the way... every day. Every damn day.
Wendy was the anchor of the first show I ever produced. She showed me how to have a good time and be professional at the same time. She helped me grow tremendously as a producer. That's a nice footnote in a story of deep friendship. I am so lucky she was in my life.
She called me Gussel. Or Gustopher. Or Gustopher Robin. The last time I called her I got her voicemail. I left her a 2:00 message in part just to make her have to sit there and listen to me for that long. I hope she laughed at that. I'm crying as I type these words. I'm sure the laughs will come later today, they just won't be the same without her sharing them with me.
If you'd like to read Wendy's blog posts that she wrote while battling cancer, you can find them here.